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Steve Ramsey takes a job with the U.S. Treasury Department to track down Henry Hardison and recover $30,000 in marked bills that Hardison stole in Dodge City. Steve tells his friend, Smiley Burnette, that he believes Hardison is in Bonanza Town, a corrupt place run by Krag Boseman, whose only opposition has been Judge Anthony Dillon. In Bonanza Town, meanwhile, Judge Dillon is visited by U.S. Marshal John Reed, who places the judge under arrest in connection with a bribery and murder scandal. Just as Reed is about to reveal the judge's accomplice, the marshal is shot dead by a man in the next room. Outside, Bill Trotter, who has witnessed events through the window, attempts to flee, but is captured by Boseman and his henchman, Smoker, who then force Dillon to implicate Trotter as Reed's murderer. Later that day, Dillon is confronted by his son Bob, who demands his father clear Trotter of the obvious frame-up charge. When the judge insists it is up to a jury, Bob replies that he has summoned The Durango Kid to help. Bob then forms a vigilante group to break Trotter out of jail, but The Durango Kid, Steve's alter-ego, intervenes, cautioning them to wait. Steve then offers himself to Boseman as a bodyguard and Boseman agrees, paying him in advance with marked bills. Privately, Steve shows Smiley, who has become the town's new barber, the bills and voices his suspicion that Boseman is only a front-man for Hardison, who must be in the area. Steve questions Dillon, who claims he is not acquainted with Hardison. Steve then relates Hardison's past: In Heela Pass, Hardison tries to convince John Avery to sell his Flying-A ranch, but Avery, sensing fraud, refuses. On a stagecoach, Hardison murders Avery, and when Steve stumbles upon the coach, claims he was killed during a holdup. With the Flying-A now owned by Avery's adult children, Anne and Danny, Hardison easily forces the debt-prone Danny to sell his portion of the ranch and then implicates him in a robbery, hoping to force Anne's hand. Danny is arrested, despite Steve's attempt to intervene, and is later broken out by an Avery family friend, while The Durango Kid detains a posse long enough to let Danny escape. Steve informs Anne about the breakout, before going after Hardison. Anne rides to Danny's hideout to warn him about the posse without realizing two of Hardison's men have followed her. They engage in a shootout with Danny before Steve rescues the Averys. Smiley discovers that Hardison has rigged an explosion to divert the river to flood the Flying-A and tells Steve. The Durango Kid is too late to prevent the blast, which drowns Hardison's men and apparently Hardison. In the present, Steve, unaware that Hardison is watching and listening from the next room, tells Dillon that despite Hardison's reported death, he was positively identified in the Dodge City theft. Just as Steve challenges Dillon to confess the identity of his accomplice, Smoker fires a shot through the window and Steve rushes after him. Hardison expresses disappointment with Dillon, who, he reveals, is his brother. Later, Dillon receives a note from The Durango Kid demanding he resign that afternoon, and Boseman assigns Smoker to protect the judge. Steve has Smiley tell Bob to break Trotter out of jail, before returning to Dillon's. As an armed Hardison listens just outside of the room, the judge silently warns Steve of his presence. Steve then attacks Hardison, who escapes. Trotter's breakout, assisted by The Durango Kid, diverts Smoker and the others. Meanwhile, Hardison returns to Dillon's and murders the judge before being chased and killed by The Durango Kid. Later, Steve thanks Bob for helping catch Hardison and he and Smiley ride out of town.